Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pothead- Jackpot (Janitor Records JRC1017)

Pothead is back with their new record, their first with a new drummer. This record took only a little over a year to make, while there was like a 3 year break between Rocket Boy and Pottersville. Anyway, this one is a short one with 12 tracks in 35mins and it totally kicks ass. I am really hooked on this record. Jackpot, the title track starts things off with a real rocking groove and a heavy metal guitar riff. Brad is doing a great solo as well. Quite a lot more guitar solos on this record in general and some brad is singing as well as he ever has if not the best! Rhyme in Time has a very catchy rhythm and hook and driven by acoustic guitar strumming groove. Brad sings mostly in a higher register. Nice wah guitar solo and interesting keyboard interlude as well. Drone- one two one, generation… that is the catchy chorus based on this slow track with a really chunky heavy guitar riff and the songs tells a cool story. Amazing song. Emotion of the Potion is a faster track but damn catchy. When the chorus kicks in, the guitar riff kicks it up to another level as the new drummer keeps the killer steady groove and it is a huge surprise when the Kurzweil kicks in but there are many tracks with keyboards on this record actually. You could also most see this turn into some sort of house techno track at the end if the real bass was replaced by a techno thump.. but please don’t do that…  Overblown brings the intensity down and starts with a keyboard swirl and then Brad takes over the ballad. Frame in your Mind also has a keyboard drone in this sort of spacey and very cool track. Old Bitter has this chunk chunk guitar riff drive but a strong melodic thread as the track builds and builds in intensity. Bombay has a very quirky lyrical path and is a strange funny happy track and then Brad kicks in with this heavy guitar riff and then the keyboards. Quite a trippy track. Boiler maker is a heavy one while Detroit is the fastest track on the record and real rocker until the mid section where Brad takes a little guitar break and Jeff lays down the dope bass groove. A bit to short and quite a shock when they kick back in.. Rock Satellite sounds like a Judas Priest song off Point of Entry! Cool… Northern Lights ends this great record with a mix of heavy and melodic. Great lyrics. How the hell does Brad come up with some many cool fucking songs again. Some really different ideas but in the end it all still sounds like Pothead…. Bang your pot head… (German Pothead Fan Club)

Mammatus Cloud- Mammatus Cloud (MC001)

Mammatus Cloud is a pretty cool Danish band form Jylland. They have been playing around since 2008 and made two previous demos CD-Rs. They are big fans of the Øresund Space Collective but sadly I have missed every one of their shows in Copenhagen. This is their first professional release and a cool 30 min psychedelic experience. The CD starts off with A Season without Rain (never can happen in Denmark!). IT starts pretty heavy and psyched out and then it comes down to earth and the male and female vocals sung in unison come in during the slow section but the song builds up again pretty quickly. Heavy spaced out guitar riffs take over the soundscape once again for nearly the rest. No real guitar solos just a wall of heavy fuzz and space that fills the room. Space out stuff. The Wrong Kind is like a heavy blues song to start with some really spaced out vocals with long delays. Pretty psychedelic. This track melts directly into an Open Door, which is really spacey at the beginning. It has a more stoner rock like feel but is damn groovy and the bluesy vibe returns again. Very cool track. Black is a 8 min psychedelic stoner rock track with a nice groove and some echo-reverb vocals but not so far out you can’t understand. Man, when he hits that space pedal on the guitar, the band really flys and it not afraid to jam and experiment. All of the tracks on this CD were recorded live in the studio with only the vocals overdubbed. A very cool release. Glad we are having more and more of these great bands popping up in Denmark…

Temple of the Smoke- The Lost art of Twilight (Cosmic Eye Records EYE003)

The cool instrumental band Temple of the Smoke from Belgrade is out with their first real release on the new Greek label Cosmic Eye. When I was playing gigs in the Balkans, we stayed at the apartment of one of these guys and they were super cool people. I really liked their first CD-R and it has so many different styles and the band maintain that on this record with nearly every song being unique and quite eclectic. There are 7 song in total. Kingdom of Apples starts things slowly and spacey with some floating synths, drums and bass and is a beautiful peaceful track that slowly builds up and gets really psyched out at the end. Moth of Time has acoustic guitars and a sort of spacey dreamy voice as the track floats and glides. Then you get quite a shock when the almost DOOM like guitars kick in. They return to the dream theme but then get really freaked out and noisy at the end. Starfall is a really short but intense track that feels like an intro to a dramatic scene in a movie! Out, into the Crimson Night starts with a synthesizer loop and layer that drives the piece at the beginning. All of the sudden it stops and a deep bass line kicks in as do the drums. This track is the only song on the record with a real guitar solo break and like rock and roll part. Every track on the record is quite unique in this way. Time to flip the record over now.

Street of Shifting Signs stars off side B with a fast tempo track with some cool bass lines but it is lead by a cool synthesizer solo as it slowly builds up. It later changes to a dub reggae part section including melodica and vocoder.  But wait, it ain’t over yet.. It really rocks out at the end and the lead synthesizer takes over once more. Amazing track. Beyond the wall of Sleep  features Jon Mack Marie on vocal. It starts with some sound samples and the dreamy voice and maintains this beautiful melodic dream like state. Temple of the Smoke ends this record and on the back cover for the record it has some words to go along with the track. Powerful lyrics. Just like the powerful words on the back of the record, it starts dark and mysterious as well. I very cool mid-eastern guitar line is played as well as the track builds and spaces out.
It repeats a similar theme over and over but it gets much heavier towards the end. Great record.

High Priest of Saturn (Svart Records SVR192)

High Priestess of Saturn is a new Norwegian three piece band. They released a demo on bandcamp in 2011. So what is in store? The record has two long songs on each side of slow heavy riffing doom with a lot of organ and echoed female (nearly spoken word) vocals. Some of it sounds like it was recorded to sound like you are in a church. Side A starts with the song Protean Towers. It is a pretty slow doomy track with dreamy vocals to start, reminds me of Candlemass at their slowest (the guitar), but nicely the mid-section a really nice guitar section (double tracked) is played to compliment the organ, which is not only used for atmosphere. They bring the track down to very slow doom ending. Kraken Mare keeps the mood very dark but the pace is slightly faster and they avoid the “doom” guitar riff for quite some time with just organ, drums and bass and a different guitar. It does turn into a doom track in the end and has a longer vocal section although I don’t find her vocals very emotion, interesting, powerful, there are just sort of there. Pity as it would really add something. The track slowly evolves and includes a short guitar solo and longer organ section played by Ole. It is time to flip the record and hear the Crawling King Snake (nothing to do with the John Lee Hooker song!). Like the previous songs it takes the slow doomy road with the organ playing the most interesting role usually. Martin has a pretty cool more bluesy solo, which is double tracked again making it a bit more psychedelic but again this part is far too short before they go back into the same basic doom laiden theme as where the song started but with some nice organ playing. On Mayda Insula is the last track starts off with a nice guitar part as the track seems like a bit of a jam (which is cool….) and also ends in a very cool jam making this by far the best track on the record. I love the organ on this record and if the band did not have this it would be a completely normal DOOM record. I sure hope they have Ole live as the organ is one thing that sets the band a bit aside from other female lead DOOM acts. Live Martin might also take some longer cool solos so I look forward to see the band at the Heavy Days in Doomtown. Nice artwork, good sound and packaging on the record.

In Zaire- White Sun Black Sun (Who can you trust WHO-017)

I don’t know where these folks are from (I think Italy) but it sounds like a three piece band thrashing out some hard edged psyche madness on the first listen. This cassette only (maybe digital download also) released features 7 tracks named after different planets, our moon, the sun.. The Sun starts things off with a noisy madness with some intense playing from all lead by the bass and drums to start while the guitar player freaks out. The vocals come in when the track settles down and then off they dash into the unknown creating quite a noisy sound. Tripped out stuff…  Moon has quite a fast pace as well and a groovy beat while over the top the guitar makes some different delays and effects rather than playing chords. Eventually he goes into a sort of solo mode, not like Earthless or Black Bombain, more noisy. Mars starts off more slowly with some slide guitar, noisy percussion and some additional layers of guitars and things..  Mercury has a killer drum and guitar intro that is really gets you hooked and then the tracks sort of goes strange but the bass player maintains the similar line and then they return. Pretty tranced out stuff. Jupiter is more strange stuff with some heavy reverb on the drums and percussion, bass and guitar meandering and a basic loss of direction as they head out to the nebula. Venus starts off with some distorted bass and the drums slowly build up as the guitar player floats around and tries to figure out what to play and then he finds out what he wants to do and raises the intensity level with some heavy riffing. Saturn has a gong and some feedback and oscillations to start things off and then the band takes off into a more like Hawkwind spaced out vibe and groove.. That is the end of this tape. All songs are repeated on both sides. Sure this stuff is pretty psychedelic but I did not find it all that interesting and the guitar player really needs some direction as the bass lines and drums are really great on most of this stuff but the guitar player seems disconnected. Check it out…..

Rock Masters Band- March of the Pink Fat Elephants (Secret Entertainment SC019)

This is a fairly new Finnish band and I am still not sure what to make of them after hearing this album several times. This is their 2nd release.  The CD starts off with Strange as it feels and you will notice the QOTSA influence straight away especially the way the chorus and guitar line sync together. The end of the songs has a cool psyched out guitar section. Bravado, Bluff and beauty is next and starts off driven by mainly bass and vocals before the guitar riff kicks in. They mix in some cool sections in all the songs and have several guests on flute, violin, cello and castanets. . The CD has some more moody tracks that start slowly as well like Travel in Style and State of the Art. One More Bend, Once Again is the last song and an uptempo rocker. It is sometimes very mainstream and not like stuff I like at all but then other times they suck you in with these really cool psychedelic rock songs. I would say the best comparison is they are the Finnish equivalent of QOTSA. Musically, they are very good at sounding just like QOTSA but the vocals are unique.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Victor Griffin’s In-Graved (Svart Records SVR189)

Victor Griffin (Pentagram, Place of Skulls) is back with a new record and band, including the old drummer from Trouble playing Hammond. It was recorded last year in Nashville and features 8 tracks. Thankfully he has toned down the Christian lyrics and instead wrote fantastic words to go with these powerful tracks, without focusing on the Christian GOD. Forget that and put the needle in the groove and let it rip. Digital Critic kicks into high gear with a monster riff. The organ is mixed barely audible on this track to just add some atmosphere. The mid section is really cool with some double tracked guitars. Actually this is the only song where they almost jam and really extend the mid section. What if, is slower but groovy and has very powerful lyrics. The organ is again mixed way in the back but you can hear it. The track ends with an acoustic guitar section. Late for an early Grave starts off with a guitar solo has a cool melodic driving riff. Side A ends with slowly with the track Fading Flower where for the first time on this side the organ is mixed a bit up in the mix to enhance the mellow feeling of this floating track. Nice..

          Thorn in the Flesh has a fantastic and cool riff and groove. Victor is singing great and I love the flow of the riff and the organ. Very cool jamming mid-section on this track. Teacher is actually a cover of the old Jethro Tull song! Wow.. that was a surprise. It has a great heavy riff section that works perfect with Victor’s style. Awesome. Love Song for the Dying is another powerful one and the organ is mixed pretty high on this song, especially at the beginning since it is really low at times. A short guitar solo is played and the song slows but the heavy vibe remains. The record ends with Never Surrender is a fast pace melodic hard rock song. One of the most catchy songs on the record but also probably my least favourite. Victor has a solid new band and I look forward to seeing them at Roadburn..

Space Mushroom Fuzz- Seeing Double (private release)

This Massachusetts based band have released their two cassettes (When the trippers Collide and Something weirds going On) in a cool double box. I think this is limited to 100 copies. Great packaging on this one. The first tape (Trippers) stars with the Palace Gates which is a really cool psychedelic acid space jam track. IT gets really spaced out at the end. Watching the Watcher very much has an old school Hawkwind vibe to it. The main riff is very much like Down through the Night. The guitar section at the end is really long and super spacey. Wonderful stuff..  Shine on your Crazy train Part 1 is the end of side A of the tape. This takes the way forward of Pink Floyd to a totally different level of space, way deeper than they could ever imagine…. Very floating, totally spaced out with loads of layers of guitar. Blew my mind this one.. Wow…  Flip the tape over for Space is Blue and the jam takes off in another direction with a keyboard line mixing with the spaced out sound and it reminds me of Psychedelic Warlords by Hawkwind! Funny.. Maybe you won’t hear the reference.. the way he sings?? Shine on you Crazy Train Part 2 is much shorter than the first part. It has slow building guitar with some cool bass playing and trippy delay guitars. Waveform Space Mushroom Jam ends this first tape with a really long spaced out jam piece. It slowly builds with some vocals far in the background as the track is mostly lead by the guitar riff. It later evolves into a a real guitar jam and some saxophone even.. Highly recommended music for the true space trippers… The 2nd tape has shorter jams and contains 8 tracks…. The opening track is a massive spaced out thing with a killer guitar part. Cool stuff.

If you dig bands like old Hawkwind, Troldmand, Cosmic Dead, Gnod, etc.. check these guys out..